Work and play is quite heavily around electronic music. When I’m home I like to take a break, and get inspiration from listening to a wide range of genres. I’ve compiled some of my favourite tracks that have resonated with me over the years.
Arthur Russell – Arm Around You
A timeless artist who covered multiple genres so elegantly. ‘Arm Around You’ has a soft psychedelic palette of sounds that contrasts with the rushing drums and trippy vocals. Sonically, the slight distortion on his productions is exactly what I love; a vintage grit that I’ve been obsessed with since I started listening to music.
Loose Joints – Is It All Over My Face (Larry Levan remix)
Once again, Arthur Russell on this Disco classic which never fails to ‘loosen’ me up. The floppiness makes it so charming and reminds me how important it is to keep the human element when making music. I’m most happy when I hear mistakes in music, there is a Japanese philosophy known as Kintsugi, repairing damaged pottery with gold, a metaphor for embracing flaws and imperfection. On a musical level it shows amaturity and detachment of the ego which is quite tough when a lot of us have been taught to be perfectionists.
Gal Costa – Pontos De Luz
I was recently in Brazil and bought some amazing local music which has a very special place on my shelf. I don’t understand Portuguese but Gal’s heavenly tone, dreamy guitars and rhythms transcend you. A smooth piece of magic.
Cymande – Dove
Apparently Cymande were one of the first bands to fuse african rhythms with rock and funk. The whole track feels like a live jam that was captured in the moment. The seductive guitar tones and rhythms have been sampled a few times and got into my mind from a young age. Theres a few classic tracks in my library that were discovered because they were sampled and I went digging. A lot of Hip Hop I listen to has inspired me to dig deep into other genres; not just the soul and funk eras but reggae and early electro that I wouldn’t have discovered without that initial trigger.
Metronomy – The Look
I’ve always been focused on production, grooves and melody; lyrics haven’t been my main focus until recently. It comes from mixing records from a young age and always analysing the beats. Stepping out of that mentality has made me appreciate music in a different way. Some tracks grow on you; this one I was addicted to from the first time I heard it. I love the synths; the whole track is like a Clean-Cut Post-Punk influenced little number that will never leave my library.
Puma Blue – Soft Porn
Raw and romantic; themes which compliment each other so well in music. I love how music sends people on different journeys depending on their present mindset; clever lyrics can guide you to have different interpretations. I’m a big fan of Blue Flower records, a London based label who seem to be pushing really high quality artists of our generation.
Lonely Band – I Want You
Nostalgic synths and beautiful lyrics from this Parisian talent. There’s so much good stuff coming out of Paris; I’ve really been enjoying Grande Ville Records who are cultivating amazing artists. I sometimes get the train over from London just to walk around the city and get inspiration. It helps that some of my favourite record stores for electronic music are there.
Saada Bonaire – You Could Be More As You Are
The whole vibe of this one immediately transports me to an 80’s drug pin movie. I think a lot of people were swamped with this kind of entertainment growing up, so theres a natural appreciation to the soundtracks.
Syriana – Checkpoint Charlie
I’m up in the sky cruising on my magic carpet when I hear this. There’s some melodramatic sounds which come from a beautiful Middle-Eastern instrument called the Qanun, which varies in number of strings depending on its origin. I find it very important to sometimes disconnect yourself to move forward – the fact we can do it with music is a blessing.
Nina Simone – Sinnerman
I allow myself to get completely lost in this voodoo-like voyage. It’s origins are a spiritual song, which can be felt through the music. It’s a meditation and tough to categorize into a specific genre or even storyline. The dynamics throughout this masterpiece make you feel like your running a marathon with a water break somewhere in the middle of this journey.
Bas Ibellini – Toys Enjoy EP (Play It Say It Records)
Ibellini has established himself with impressive sets for iconic clubs like fabric, festivals like Sonus and brands like Circoloco. The Londoner has also made a real mark with his meticulous studio sounds on the likes of Tuskegee and Crosstown Rebels, all while hosting his own night Peculiar. Pushing forwards on all fronts, he does so again here with four more well-crafted and late-night dance floor weapons.
First out of the blocks is ‘Toys Enjoy’, a superbly slick and futuristic track that melts electro and house into one fresh new style. It twists and turns on taught rhythms, with warped synths wrapping round the drums and really getting you moving. The excellent ‘Reality Check’ is a timeless house number with busy sci-fi synths and a smooth rolling groove that really gets under your skin as acid inflections colour in the airwaves. Up next, ‘Babysit’ flips the script and offers a freaky afterparty vibe. The minimal drums and sound designs are all paired back and mind melting as they wriggle about restlessly. ‘Jammy Clothes’ closes things out with another excellently stripped back take on cerebral house music that is spaced out and synthetic, yet hugely atmospheric.